Boutique Firm of the Year  Studio Toggle    The Middle East Architect Awards 2018  Ritz Carlton DIFC Dubai     Dubai   photo by Ajith Narendra  ITP Images
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Boutique Firm of the Year Studio Toggle The Middle East Architect Awards 2018 Ritz Carlton DIFC Dubai Dubai photo by Ajith Narendra ITP Images

Studio Toggle wins Boutique Firm of the Year

Kuwait-based practice Studio Toggle picked up the Boutique Firm of the Year prize at the 11th edition of the MEA Awards.

The judges felt that Studio Toggle has quickly established itself in the region, and have already produced an extensive body of work that features high-quality work of various scales.

“They are authors of original architecture that employs scientific research and computational methods to tackle specific form and space finding and environmental challenges,” the judges said.

Led by Gijo Paul George and Hend Almatrouk, Studio Toggle focuses on architecture, urbanism and activism. Its work rejects non-functional ornamentation, while embracing technology, and architecture that responds to its surroundings.

Advocating a 'democratisation of design', the firm also places a strong emphasis on sustainability, exploring and perfecting self-shading aesthetics that mitigate the heat gain caused by large openings typical of the studio’s language. These techniques are evident in its award winning projects like F.LOT and Edges Apartments.

Studio Toggle also employs BIM based energy assessment tools to increase the energy efficiency of its buildings and is a strong proponent on using locally available building materials. The practice strives to use parametric and algorithmic design not just as a design tool but also as an aid in construction workflow, adopting low-tech and local methods.

The judges praised the studio’s vision to be an integral part of the on-going urban transformation in Kuwait, and they have high hopes for the firm’s future expansion, with its recently established office in Porto.

Accepting the award on behalf of Studio Toggle was Walid Hashem, architect, who said “The partners do their best to always come up with innovative designs. They focus on the environment, sustainability, the local market and the region.

“They also work with different interpretations of architects – there were a few tense moments before the winner was announced, but we’re happy that Studio Toggle made it. Studio Toggle wants to expand in the GCC, bringing together the best talent and hiring specialised professionals in the sustainability field. We hope to bring new knowledge and benchmarks, and brilliant talent to the industry with our innovative projects.”

The award was presented by Emad Jaber, founder and managing partner from Lacasa.

BAD. Built by Associative Design from Lebanon was highly commended in the category. Judges admired the “talented group of architects, who are skilled in innovative design strategy and changing and redefining the design brief.” The panel was pleased with BAD.’s ideas and methodology of design.